Updated: Sept. 12, 11:30 PM UTC: Upon contacting the lawyers in the case, Cointelegraph has clarified that Coinbase had not settled in the case, but rather agreed to facilitate a transfer of funds from a hacker to the hacking victim. The article has been corrected accordingly.
The United Kingdom arm of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has agreed to transfer lost Bitcoin to the victim of an email phishing attack (BTC) after a court order to reveal the hacker’s identity.
Stolen Bitcoin diverted to Coinbase
On Sept. 10, legal news site Law360 reported that Coinbase U.K. had agreed to transfer the 60 BTC that the hacker held in a Coinbase wallet to Liam Robertson to exit a London-launched litigation after hackers stole 80 BTC (worth close to $815,744) in the attack.
Robertson lost his Bitcoin in a spear-phishing attack, when the email account of a firm in which he was investing was hacked. 60 of the stolen Bitcoins were then diverted to a digital wallet that was held by Coinbase. Another 20 were sent to local exchanges. Roberston then received a Bankers Trust order to reveal the identity of the wallet holder and to see whether it was the same person who made the transfer.
Status of cryptocurrency in Britain
Attorneys for Roberston said that the case could help victims of fraud reclaim stolen cryptocurrency by classifying it as a specific asset or sum of money. In July, a court ordered Coinbase to not dissipate or transfer stolen cryptocurrencies, which could open the door for courts in England and Wales to treat Bitcoin as property, according to Law360.
In May, the U.K. government-led Jurisdiction Taskforce launched a public consultation to determine the status of crypto assets under English private law. The taskforce said that the uncertain legal status of cryptocurrency in Britain is a major deterrent for potential investors. Per Law360, the courts are still waiting for a determination by the task force.
Cyber criminals netted $4.3 billion in 2019
According to blockchain security company CipherTrace, outright thefts, scams and other kinds of misappropriation of funds from digital currency holders and trading platforms resulted in around $4.3 billion in losses throughout 2019.